Ford Mondeo review
The Ford Mondeo is still great to drive, but it's getting old now and in some respects, it feels it
The latest generation Ford Mondeo has barely changed since its UK launch in 2007, but that's not necessarily a bad thing as it still has plenty going for it. The Mondeo still drives superbly and comes with bags of standard kit.
Available as either a hatchback or an estate, the Ford Mondeo is offered in four trim levels. Buyers can choose from the entry-level Edge, the mid-range Zetec Business, the plush Titanium X Business and the sporty Titanium X Sport. All models come very well equipped, with entry-level cars getting LED runners, air-conditioning, parking sensors and stop-start technology as standard.
The Ford Mondeo is available with a range of excellent petrol engines (Ford's racy EcoBoost units are part of this line-up) and economical diesels. The most frugal engine in the range is the 114bhp 1.6-litre TDCi diesel, while the most powerful is the 2.0-litre turbocharged EcoBoost with 238bhp.
However, Ford doesn't provide the current Mondeo range with hybrid power - buyers wanting that will have to wait for the all-new Ford Mondeo, which despite now being on sale in the US, is scheduled to arrive in Europe at the end of 2014. In addition to the lack of hybrid tech, the Mondeo's interior is looking pretty dated. Not even a 2013 revision could stop the Mondeo from being outclassed by its main rival - the Vauxhall Insignia - in this regard.
Our choice: Mondeo 2.0 TDCI (140) Zetec Business edition
The Ford Mondeo has been a stalwart of the Ford range for years, so they're not an uncommon sight on UK roads. Mainly motorways.
It’s a big car with a chunky shape that’s taller and wider than the Vauxhall Insignia. However, it's a bit shorter and its angular lines (taken from Ford's 'Kinetic' design philosophy) contrast with the Insignia's curves.
While Ford has facelifted the Fiesta and other models with a gaping grille, the Mondeo carries on with a small upper grille and large opening in the bumper. Following the 2013 overhaul, LED running lights have also been added. From the rear, the Mondeo doesn't look bad either, and its chunky lines are complemented by angular tail-lights which give it an air of Volvo S60, just without the cool.
While Ford has regularly updated the Mondeo's exterior, the brand has done very little to keep the interior fresh. There's nothing wrong with it as such, it's just stuck in 2007.
A large, flat facia is dominated by plenty of hard plastics, and like the smaller Ford Focus, there's plenty of fiddly buttons - most notably on the dash and the climate control.
The Mondeo's standard sat-nav has a low-resolution screen – although the navigation itself is easy to use – and the red dot-matrix trip computer display that’s set between the dials looks very dated when compared with the likes of the smart, widescreen TFT fitted to the Vauxhall Insignia.
There's no denying that the Ford Mondeo is a big car. In fact, it's close to being the same size as a BMW 5 Series. It's great to drive though, thanks to responsive steering, excellent body control and a supple but comfortable ride.
The Mondeo has always led the family car field for entertaining front-wheel-drive handling, and even after all this time on sale, that’s still the case. It feels livelier than an Insignia through corners as a result of sharper turn-in and nicely weighted steering. Grip under cornering is also excellent.
There’s not as much body roll as in an Insignia and the Ford feels surprisingly small and nimble on a twisty road due to its alert responses. Granted, sporty models have slightly stiffer suspension for that livelier feel, but they're still decent to drive and the rest of the Mondeo range generally offers a bump-absorbing ride.
While the Insignia does a better job of ironing out bumps, the Mondeo is still reasonably comfortable – but there’s more road and engine noise in the Ford - especially at motorway speeds.
The Mondeo's six-speed transmission has a solid and positive shift that allows you to make the most of the engines' performance.
The Ford Mondeo dropped 28 places in our 2014 Driver Power Customer Satisfaction survey, and it ranked an eventual 84th out of 150 cars.
Owners stated that running costs are high, and it also scored low for build quality. What's more, the Mondeo was described as being uncomfortable and lacking in technology.
At launch in 2007, the car was crash tested by Euro NCAP, and achieved a five-star rating. While the current NCAP test is a lot tougher, it’s worth noting that the Mondeo has seven airbags.
The Mondeo has the space to serve as a versatile family car with an impressive boot and generous rear legroom.
While it offers 540-litres of space in the boot (10 litres more than the Vauxhall Insignia), it still can't quite match the 595-litres of space in the Skoda Superb. The Insignia gets its advantage back when the seats are folded flat, as it has a 1,470-litre capacity - 10 more than the Mondeo.
The Ford has a larger boot floor area but a narrower boot opening, despite the sill being lower.
The Mondeo is also very spacious in the cabin area - or it at least feels it - thanks to a deep cubby under the front armrest, and large door bins.
Its big windows also make the Ford's interior feel airier than its rivals. The driver's seat is also fully adjustable, and the chunky steering wheel moves for both reach and rake.
Until the new Ford Mondeo arrives in late 2014, there are no hybrid or plug-in hybrid models in the current Mondeo line-up.
The most efficient engine in the Ford Mondeo range is the 1.6-litre 114bhp TDCi, which returns 67.3mpg and emits 109g/km of CO2. This is available on the entry level Edge, mid-range Zetec Business and higher end Titanium X Business cars.
There is also another 1.6-litre engine available, but it's a turbocharged petrol EcoBoost unit that generates 158bhp. It returns 44.1mpg with CO2 emissions of 149g/km and can be specified on Zetec Business and Titanium X Business models.
The Ford Mondeo is also available with a 2.0-litre diesel engine, which can be specified with either 138 or 161bhp. The 138bhp unit is available on Zetec Business and Titanium X Business models and it achieves 62.8mpg plus 119g/km of CO2 with the six-speed manual gearbox. When mated to Ford's six-speed Powershift Automatic gearbox, its emissions increase to 136g/km of CO2 and it achieves 54.3mpg.
The 161bhp 2.0-litre diesel is available as either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic. All models with either transmission achieve the same mpg and CO2 emissions as their 138bhp counterpart.
The other diesel engine in the range is a 2.2-litre unit, which is available on the flagship model in the Ford Mondeo range - the Titanium X Sport. It emits 159g/km of CO2 and returns 47.1mpg. When fitted with the automatic gearbox, its emissions rise to 173g/km and its fuel economy drops marginally to 55.1mpg.
The most powerful engine in the Ford Mondeo range is the 2.0-litre 238bhp EcoBoost which is available on the Titanium X Sport model. Despite having a top speed of 152mph, it achieves 36.7mpg plus CO2 emissions of 179g/km.